Our Writer’s Group welcomes new members. Writing is a solo activity. I know that first efforts can seem awkward and frustrating. I have encouraged many people to write their family history, only to discover they had the same struggles and frustrations I had. Finally, it dawned on me that I never told them what to expect from their first efforts. No wonder they never got anywhere with their writing. The Writer’s Group’s purpose is to encourage and support writers in their efforts. The reward for making an effort to write is an immense feeling of accomplishment solely yours.
This writer can attest to how much information is on the Internet about writing. The first thing I Googled was, “mistakes first-time authors make.” The last thing you want to look like is an amateur. There are plenty of them out there. You don’t want to be one of them. Instantly, you will know if an author did or didn’t do their homework.
The second search I made was proper punctuation. You may think you know about this subject, but you will benefit by polishing your knowledge base. Good form and usage are crucial to being a reputable author. Lousy punctuation is the first thing an agent observes, and they will read only a page or two and then throw the book down. The proper form of paragraphs, using quotation marks correctly, eliminating excessive use of “that.” Homework: Double-check everything, even though you think you know about a subject.
I have dubbed myself a “wordie.” Checking out synonyms is fun. You do this to find words that better suit what you are trying to convey, not to look like smartie-pants. Repeating the same descriptive word throughout your manuscript makes your work look “thin.” Find words that best suit a character’s reaction or eliminate the response. And here’s a “biggie.” Ending a sentence with the word “it” is a huge mistake. Please don’t force your reader to mentally refer back to what it is; tell them. Here is one example from my novel:
“I guess I opened Pandora’s box, and now I have to deal with it.” Corrected like this: “I guess I opened Pandora’s box, and now I have to deal with the consequences.” Ah, much better.
The “find” function is a powerful tool, and so is the software Grammarly. I edited my book using Grammarly and the “find” function many times and discovered changes and corrections that led to higher clarity and professionalism. But, first, get the story or book written. I call it, burping it onto the page. Sorry for the image. Write it and worry about editing later. Purchase Grammarly once you have a good deal written. It is not expensive, a few bucks a month.
We meet on the first Monday of the month in Classroom 1 at Cottonwood from 2 to 4 p.m. It is down the hallway near the tennis courts. Questions? Feel free to contact me at [email protected]